The letter request:
It’s been a month since I asked my whacky housemate to move out yet he seems to still be here. We are carrying on as though the conversation never happened. I need a letter to give to him as a gentle reminder that our house sharing relationship is over.
Something funny has been happening around my house lately. I go into the bathroom and the shower is all wet. I say to myself, ‘Someone’s been showering in my bathroom.’ I go into the spare room and find the spare bed disheveled and unmade. I say to myself, ‘Someone’s been sleeping in my spare room.’ I go into the kitchen and I see someone cooking dinner. I say to myself, ‘Someone is making Pasta Arrabiata in my kitchen… after I asked him to move out.’
I lived with my parents until I was twenty. I spent a good four years after that in a share house with my sister and, after that, a random assortment of shitty rentals. I call those years ‘doing time’. I call buying my own apartment ‘that scene at the end of the movie where the giant steel gates fling open and the protagonist walks out – in his hands, a paper bag of belongings; on his face, a look of wonderment.’ I call it ‘freedom’. I say to myself, ‘At last.’
I spent a year living on my own. I had things just the way I liked them. I walked around naked. Life was good. My mortgage however was not and that’s what prompted me to re-enter the world of share house living. You know what they say, you can’t choose your family but you can choose your flatmates.
When I interviewed you for the room, your quirkiness delighted me. You asked me if I had a dog or any plans to get a dog; I said no. You asked me if I had a cat or any plans to get a cat; I said no. You asked me where I kept my wifi modem; I said, on a table. You were pleased with this because in your last house the dog shat on the modem and it pissed you off. I should have heard alarm bells but instead I just thought of how funny it would be on Monday at work to tell people about what you’d just said.
Then you moved in. That first night you stayed, I was on a work trip to Canberra. You texted me at 11.00pm to say that you were going through my spice cupboard and the Garam Masala was passed its used-by date and you would like to throw it out. Our first fight was over whether vinegar could go off. People at work loved hearing my whacky flatmate stories. They found it super cute when you texted me from New York asking me to check your bedroom for snakes. Punch line: the apartment is on the eleventh floor.
I went along with your rule that I wasn’t allowed to wear shoes in the house. I tried to turn the other cheek when you got angry at me for having too many tea towels on the go at the one time. I was perplexed when you quizzed me as to why I would drive the guy I was sleeping with home after he’d stayed over but I wouldn’t pick you up from Coles after your work shift.
Then you got really pissed off at me because you thought I hadn’t put the bag back into the vacuum cleaner. I actually had, but you still didn’t speak to me for two weeks. And when I wouldn’t kill a cricket that was in the bathroom? You wanted it dead but declared you couldn’t kill it yourself because you were Buddhist. I put it out on the balcony and watched you glare at me for a whole week to the soundtrack of a chirping cricket.
After a year, having fun stories to tell colleagues was outweighed by the daily stress of having you shitty at me for no good reason. Solution: I told you I’d like you to move out. You accepted this. I asked you when you planned to start looking and you said, ‘Not this weekend’. I suggested you start as soon as possible.
Flash forward one month to an unwanted flatmate cooking Pasta Arrabiata in a kitchen not his own.
I’m pretty sure this is the point at which you wake up, see me glowering at you, run out of my house and disappear into the forest. Never to return again.